Internet finds Geraldo Rivera in hoodie, becomes suspicious

If Slate doesn’t soon have a contrarian take praising Geraldo Rivera for saying, “I think the hoodie is as much responsible for Trayvon Martin’s death as George Zimmerman was,” the Internet is useless. Kidding! We all know the Internet is useless. Except if you want to make fun of Geraldo Rivera for saying something as mind-bogglingly stupid as “I think the hoodie is as much responsible for Trayvon Martin’s death as George Zimmerman was.”

Erik Wemple wrote this morning that Rivera’s quote “has to be another Internet hoax.”

No adult on the country’s leading cable news outfit would blame the fashion choices of black and Latino kids for violence against them. Someone really clever had to have messed with the audio on that clip.

Wemple followed with another post a few hours later called “Geraldo’s hoodie comments: Definitely not a hoax.” Wemple listened to a radio show in which, he says, Rivera “octupled down on the hoodie blaming.”

Elana Zak put together a very useful Storify for anyone who started seeing the name “Geraldo” pop up in the news and simply figured the Millennium Bug had come 12 years late. From it, you can watch Geraldo’s original video, read a column-length version of his thoughts on how people who aren’t white should and shouldn’t dress and learn that the Atlantic Wire quickly found, via MediaBistro, a picture of Geraldo Rivera wearing a hoodie.

To be fair, that’s not really Rivera’s point: He says in his column that even though it’s not fair, “No one black, brown or white can honestly tell me that seeing a kid of color with a hood pulled over his head doesn’t generate a certain reaction, sometimes scorn, often menace.” The problem with this logic is that anything that becomes fashionable among black and Latin kids is inevitably seen as menacing, be it long white T-shirts, saggy pants or, when I was a kid, dookie chains.

In a fine piece earlier this week, my colleague Mallary Tenore wrote about some of the codes used to describe Trayvon Martin, hoodies among them.

When deciding whether to describe criminals as wearing a hooded sweatshirt, journalists should question how much this description will add to a story. Does it reveal something important about the suspect? Would you be as inclined to say the criminal was wearing a white T-shirt, a blue Polo shirt, a corduroy jacket? Would you be inclined to mention the hoodie if the suspect were Caucasian?

We have made it easy to comment on posts, however we require civility and encourage full names to that end (first initial, last name is OK). Please read our guidelines here before commenting.

  • Anonymous

    Mr. Beaujon:

    The absurdity of Mr. Rivera’s comments does not make
    your use of humor any more appropriate in the context of the
    tragic loss of a young man’s life. 

  • Anonymous

    When armed, you must avoid confrontation to get immunity under the self protection law; especially if no crime is being committed, unless you are an official member of law enforcement.  Once Zimmerman exited his vehicle, with his weapon, he set all the other events in motion, which could have been avoided.  Everything that happened after that, are consequences of Zimmerman not obeying the law to “AVOID CONFRONTATION WHEN ARMED!” and exiting his vehicle with his gun.

  • Anonymous

    was down on the Mall in Washington, DC, Sunday, walking from the Capitol to the Lincoln
    Memorial and back. I saw something on the order of several thousand
    people — it’s Cherry Blossom time –  mostly tourists, and I would say about 20% were wearing hoodies.
    Children as young as three and elders as old as 70. Entire families in
    hoodies, mom, dad, sons & daughters. Most of the hoodie attired
    were middle-class whites, but as well a good number from China, Japan,
    Germany, and so on. One group of 40 high school kids, all white, were
    garbed in hoodies in their school colors. 
    Hoodies are as All-American as blue jeans, basball caps, and cowboy boots. 

  • stan chaz

    GIVE ME A BREAK. It was raining…. the kid was running…..and ….SORRY… but we don’t ALL use Totes umbrellas when we go to the corner grocery store for a snack. Nor should we risk losing our lives while doing so!  And Mr. Zimmerman, the gunman, by his own admission was stalking Trayvon, against the advice of the police (via radio transmission). Mr. Rivera: you should be ashamed of your inane, insensitive comments, and your attempts to create “excuses” for the inexcusable actions of judge-jury-executioner Zimmerman. We are becoming a society that sees threats under every rock; a society with power hungry control-freaks (whether politicians or mayors or police chiefs or individuals) that are only too eager to take advantage of these fears; only too eager to get away anything they can, as they deprive us of our our liberty (and sometimes our lives), in the name of defending it.  This is part of a slippery slope that includes the worst provisions of the Patriot Act, the police spying on innocent people , and self-proclaimed homicidal vigilantes such as we have here…..a slippery slope that leads to the police state/ Orwellian mentality typical of places such as China, Cuba, or 1960′s Communist Eastern Europe. We used to stand proud and free, and contrasted our open society to such places. Now we imitate them. Our country is better than this. WE are better than this.